Beautiful princesses! Sexy pirates! True Love! Truly Unconvincing Love! Shattered mirrors! Blatant product placements! Yes, it’s time once again to gather around and snark about ABC’s Once Upon a Time, because, let’s face it, after what this show did to actual eyeballs this episode, we all need it.
Major spoilers ahead!
Disclaimer: Prior to watching this episode, I put up my Christmas tree and some decorations which meant that a portion of my television screen was covered by Santa Stitch and reflections of my Xmas lights, which means that as usual, I unquestionably missed things.
Previously on Once Upon a Time: Over in Fairy Tale Land, Ingrid, aka Dairy Queen, decided to save on labor costs by just freezing over all of Arendelle—which sounds very practical but does run the risk of not being able to order hot chocolate on demand, like, not great on the forward thinking there, Ingrid—before getting sent to our world, arriving in 1982, to search for her second magical replacement sister, Emma.
Over in Storybrooke, Rumple came close to stealing Emma’s magical powers through the power of Mickey Mouse’s Hat, only to be stopped by the True Friendship of Elsa. This annoyed Rumple so much that he chained Hook up (oooh!) and stole Hook’s heart (oooh oooh!) placing Hook totally under his power, in a scene that sent fanfic writers everywhere scrambling to do justice to the aftermath. Ingrid, increasingly annoyed by everyone, but still playing it cool, cast a curse that would send fragments of her evil mirror into everyone in Storybrooke to turn them completely against each other (shades of the original Anderson story that Frozen was really not based on, whatever Disney might be saying.) And Robin and Regina agreed that little things like the frozen but kinda still living corpse of his wife and banging in a crypt (why, show, why?) and very questionable library shelving shouldn’t stop the course of true love. It was all very sweet.
And now, this episode!
Over in Fairy Tale Land, Anna and Kristoff suddenly found themselves totally Unfrozen and doing miraculously well for people who were, just a few seconds ago, totally frozen in ice. Instead of focusing on their joy, however, they decided to focus on the bad news, namely that: a) Elsa was all trapped in an urn, and b) Hans (remember Hans?) was back, still determined to get the kingdom. Hans, it’s been one movie and ten episodes now. Maybe you should try to get another kingdom. Just a thought. Apparently having finally learned that the Rock Trolls are not exactly as helpful as they could be, given their magic and wisdom and all, Anna and Kristoff instead debated about the comparative evils of Wizards and Pirates, finally choosing Pirates, because if there’s one thing this show has been consistent about, it’s that Pirates Are Sexier Than Wizards. This in turn led them to Blackbeard, now in control of the Jolly Roger, either because he won it from Hook or because the show has no wish to build another pirate ship set. You decide.
For a pirate, Blackbeard was surprisingly helpful, telling Anna and Kristoff all about a Wishing Star, assuring them that it could work when used by those with Pure Hearts. Anna, apparently having learned exactly zilch from her previous nine episodes, was surprisingly enthusiastic, and Hans and his band of Hostile Takeover Lords were surprisingly present, revealing that the helpful pirate was Only a Trap. Anna and Kristoff were then locked into a wooden trunk and thrown overboard into the deep, deep ocean. Remarkably enough, however, sunlight still managed to squeeze through both the water and the previously tightly sealed trunk allowing them to have a Lovely Romantic Moment, only to be interrupted by—
Over in Storybrooke, Rumple stopped by to congratulate Ingrid, who, to be fair, was wearing the sort of dress with a spectacular train that really should be congratulated, right along with her ability to move in it at all. Rumple, however, was less interested in fashion, and more interested in ensuring that Belle and, in a surprising twist, Henry, would be unaffected by the curse. Ingrid was all yes, sure, whatever, casting curse here, Rumple, go deal with your own problems.
Meanwhile, Our Heroes decided that the best thing to do, what with the approaching curse and all, was to get out of town, a splendid idea quickly chilled by the ice walls all around the town and even springing up from the ocean. I had a few irrelevant thoughts at this point about global warming, icebergs, and ice queens, but before I could dwell on these, plot interrupted. Elsa found Anna’s necklace and immediately used it to start hunting down her sister; the fairy nuns decided that instead of handing out protective eyewear for everyone, they should instead to build a meth lab in the diner to counter the curse; Rumple sent Hook off with Mickey Mouse’s Hat to suck the fairies into the Hat; and the gang realized that Anna’s necklace could be used for one of two things: to find Anna (yay!) or rescue the entire town (yay!) but not both (not yay).
This latest revelation stunned Our Heroes into silence until Regina spoke up, telling them that they weren’t Heroes, but Leaders. I couldn’t help but feel that Regina was being more than a little overly optimistic here. Emma explained the situation to Elsa, who, naturally, understood that an entire town of strangers who, let’s face it, don’t even notice when brooms march through their streets anymore, was far, far more important than the single life of her sister. Ha ha. No, Elsa reluctantly handed over a little pouch, which nobody bothered to check, and kept following the little glowing necklace down down through The Tunnels That Hide Surprisingly Useful Magical Things to where she had almost—almost—found Anna.
Realizing the deception, Emma rushed down to the tunnels as well, just as Elsa used her magic to—blast through some rocks and end up on the beach? What kind of locator spell was this anyway, especially given that Anna wasn’t even ON the beach? Couldn’t it have led Elsa straight through to the beach without forcing the poor girl to waste her power blowing rocks apart? The stark failure of this made Emma again urge Elsa to hurry back to the Fairy Meth Lab of Last Minute Magical Anti-Curses, but Elsa needed a moment to sob over the necklace and her sister and make a wish. A wish that just happened to transport Anna and Kristoff over to Storybrooke at the Very Last Minute.
Side note: if you are wondering how, exactly, any of this fits in with the show’s timeline, given that in theory Anna met David/Charming well before Emma was even born, and how, exactly, Elsa managed to make her wish just as Anna and Kristoff were about to die very sad and watery deaths, rest assured that the show has mostly given up on the concept of “timeline” and replaced it with the concept of “we’ll just say everyone over in Arendelle was frozen for thirty years and now that we’ve settled THAT onwards with the plot.”
Anyway. Despite the best efforts of a CGI storm to add a certain urgency to the situation, and Kristoff’s sensible observation that rescue or no rescue, he was kinda cold, the group on the beach took a moment for Major Hugs All Around. Meanwhile Hook, under Rumple’s control, sucked all of the fairy nuns into the Mickey Mouse Hat, teaching us that wearing a Mickey Mouse Hat inevitably leads you to do Very Bad Things, something that, to be honest, didn’t really bug me despite my own fondness for Mickey Mouse Hats and Hook’s Tortured and Desperate expression, largely because a) I’m not that fond of any of the fairy nuns, especially the Blue Fairy, b) I can’t help thinking that the Mickey Mouse Hat might well be Party Time for Fairies.
The smashed Fairy Nun Meth Lab led our Heroes to the sad conclusion that they had no way of stopping the curse. No magical way, that is, since, incredibly enough, a full day into Curse Expectation and Prevention and no one had yet suggested a nice pair of swimming goggles. Or the nice protective visors welders wear. They all live in Maine; surely someone there needs to do welding from time to time for general repairs every winter, right? Or maybe not. Regardless, this meant that everyone except for Anna (immune to the curse, if not, I must note, to our world’s chicken pox, measles and other assorted diseases, like, given what this girl is up to, get her a tetanus shot now), Emma, Elsa, Rumple, Belle and Henry (saved from the curse by Ingrid) is DOOMED, DOOMED, DOOMED.
Realizing this, our various characters reacted in various ways. Regina shut Henry up in a room without a bathroom, fresh water or food and put a barrier around the entire thing not allowing anyone in or out, like, THANKS REGINA, and then had a Heartfelt Moment with Robin where she attempted to assure him that she was the evil one, which ordinarily I would agree with though, in this particular case, this scene happened right after Robin confessed that he’d sent his young son to hide out from the curse in a locked room with the frozen body of his mother, Maid Marian, like, THANKS ROBIN, THAT CERTAINLY WON’T REQUIRE EXTENSIVE HOURS OF THERAPY LATER. Then Regina ran to her crypt, which, frankly, under the circumstances, was not a bad plan. David and Kristoff chatted haircuts, Emma was finally allowed to babysit her small brother, Emma and Hook shared a goodbye kiss that Emma seemed to realize was a bit off, Snow and Charming locked themselves into the town jail, and, with the curse arriving, everyone LOOKED UP, presumably to ensure that the cursed bits of mirror would have no problem going directly into their eyes instead of through their skulls. Naturally, bits of mirror fell into eyeballs everywhere, which cannot be hygienic.
And after being mostly wasted all season, Ginnifer Goodwin finally earned her paycheck by turning her face from Goody Two Shoes to Prepare To Suffer And Die Horribly in a lovely slow five second scene.
Unsolved mystery: So, given how easily the Disney characters all succumbed to the Snow Queen Mirror curse, is this meant to suggest that Hans Christian Anderson is more powerful than Disney? Or at least, Grimm and Perrault?
Tune in next week, when (almost) everybody goes evil!
Mari Ness lives in central Florida. Her favorite Disney character is Stitch, which kinda says it all right there.